BANDON - The name first got my attention – Devils Kitchen. The beach kept it.
I made a trip to Bandon earlier this week to do a story and decided to take a few minutes to see what areas there might be to explore.
Earlier in this space, I wrote about Coquille Point and Face Rock Beach. After viewing those two, I knew there had to be more beaches in the Bandon area worth looking at, so I followed Beach Shore Drive waiting to see what popped up.
That’s when I saw the sign with the arrow that read “Devils Kitchen.” What? So I had to look.
I spent some time wandering around Devils Kitchen, but to be honest, I found no obvious reason for the name. I’m sure some old timers know where the name came from, but that’s a story for another day.
I was just excited to see another beach I hadn’t had a chance to visit before. The first thing I noticed about Devils Kitchen is it wasn’t crowded. As I drove down the road, passing Coquille Point and Face Rock Beach, I noticed every parking spot was full at both beaches. But at Devils Kitchen, there was a lot of room.
Second, it is much easier to actually get to the beach than the first two. While you do park above the beach, there is a gently sloping trail down to the beach rather than a number of stairs.
But that was just the first impression. To enjoy a beach, you have to be on it, feel the sand, hear the waves, enjoy the smell of salt in the air.
So, that’s what I did. And I enjoyed every minute.
There is nothing I saw at Devils Kitchen that makes it jump out as amazing. There is a ton of sand, large rocks like Bandon is known for and waves as far as one can see. But there’s no real hook. No starfish like Face Rock Beach and no amazing low-tide spectacles like Coquille Point. But at the same time, the beach has everything one would want.
While I was there, one family was flying kites in the gentle breeze. Another was playing in the water. A third was trying their luck at surfing. Others were exercising by walking the sand, and a few were simply sitting in chairs and enjoying a beautiful day.
Me? I was just there exploring. So, I walked up and down the beach, enjoying the breeze and the sea birds flying around. I was alone this time, so I mostly just walked and listened. Speaking of sea birds, there were signs up warning of snowy plovers nesting in the area. The nest sights are supposed to be cordoned off, but just in case, be alert and leave the birds alone.
Crooked Creek runs into the ocean at Devils Kitchen, adding fresh water to the opportunity of enjoying the beach and ocean.
Devils Kitchen is one of several beaches that are part of the Bandon State Natural Area. Combined, they offer three miles of uninterrupted beach access. So, if you like walking on the beach for exercise, this might be a great spot to enjoy. Be warned though, if you’re anything like me, you will probably stop a lot to get close looks at the amazing things that can be seen.
I never did figure out how the location got its name, but my mind is still racing with possibilities. While no single thing stood out at Devils Kitchen, I will be returning. The beach is an ideal spot to bring your family. With the smaller crowds and vast sand, I could see my wife and I sitting back while some of our children play in the water, others walk the beach and maybe we can even fly a kite.
To reach Devils Kitchen from Coos Bay, follow Highway 101 into Bandon. Continue on the highway through downtown Bandon and turn right on Eleventh Street. When you reach Beach Loop Drive, turn left and follow the road a couple of miles. Large signs will tell you when you’ve arrived.